Even though Ubisoft categorically declared Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones to be the final chapter in the Sands of Time trilogy, here we are five years later with yet another Prince of Persia game set in the famed Sands of Time universe.__STARTQUOTE__I could cut this review short by calling TFS, Sands of Time in HD but that would be unfair to the game since it does bring a decent amount of fresh content to the table.__ENDQUOTE__Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (TFS) takes place immediately after the Sands of Time and the Prince (who now looks a bit like Michael Jackson for some reason) is on his way to his brother Malik’s kingdom for a nice family reunion. Unfortunately the festivities and the impromptu reunion get cut short thanks to a hostile invasion from a neighboring army. Fearing defeat, his brother unleashes an ancient evil force that not only decimates the opposition but starts ravaging his kingdom as well. Men and women all over the kingdom become lifeless statues while Malik starts changing under the influence of the corruption. Saving your brother along with his kingdom seems to be the order of the day here.
I could cut this review short by calling TFS, SoT in HD but that would be unfair to the game since it does bring a decent amount of fresh content to the table. It doesn’t deviate a lot from the successful SoT formula so most of your time in TFS will be spent platforming, puzzle solving and fighting enemies. And Ubisoft have maintained a fine balance between all three aspects making sure none of them outstay their welcome.
As opposed to last year’s Prince of Persia that put you up against not more than one enemy at a time, TFS seems a tad inspired by Batman: Arkham Asylum in a way that you’re always up against multiple enemies. But unlike the silky smooth free form combat system in Batman: Arkham Asylum, combat in TFS sands feels a bit clunky and repetitive. You can dodge enemy attacks by rolling out of the way, kick enemies if they get too close for comfort but at the end of the day combat boils down to simple button mashing. You can’t learn new moves, you can’t chain attacks (like AA) nor can you counter attacks like Assassin’s Creed.
What you can do is upgrade your sword’s power along with your health bar and other abilities thanks to the game’s new upgrade system. Killing enemies in TFS will grant you with golden orbs than can be used to upgrade the Prince’s abilities and learn new elemental powers. This will endow the Prince with a protective Rock Armor, the ability to burn his foes or blow them away to oblivion (not in that way you perv) with a blast of air.
Elemental abilities tie into platforming as well since the Prince can now freeze water and use it like a solid object, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Dijn. While this sounds pretty simple on paper I have to bestow some serious props to Ubisoft who’ve included this particular feature into platforming in a most devious and enjoyable sort of way. Trust me when I say this - the platforming in this game will push your reflexes to the test. But don’t let that scare you off as you can still rewind time to save yourself from an untimely death.
While I enjoyed the crap out of platforming I have to say that the camera angles in this game leave much to be desired. There are times when you need to survey the surrounding before you make that life threatening jump but the game doesn’t allow you to do so. This becomes even more annoying when you have not more than a few seconds to decide your next move. I wouldn’t have died half the times I did, had Ubisoft had implemented a more flexible and player friendly camera.
Still it doesn’t make this game any less enjoyable and all those looking for an authentic Prince of Persia experience will be more than happy with TFS. It doesn’t score tops marks for innovation nor does it look as good as some of the more recent games this generation but it really nails down the familiar SoT formula we love and is thankfully not a shameless tie in to the crapfest that was the Sands of Time movie.